Presidential Character: An Introduction

Presidential character: An introduction

It matters who is president. Why else have elections? The mindset that presidents bring to their tasks—their basic assumptions, opinions, and beliefs—the thought processes they use to reach decisions, the reactions they have to unanticipated situations, the emotions they display about particular issues, people, and events, and even their willingness to revisit decisions and actions once made have a unique dimension to them, which is shaped in part by their personalities. Character affects what presidents say and do and how they relate to others. It is a dimension of any behavioral explanation.

Why would a well-informed, intelligent, and skillful man, such as Woodrow Wilson—president of Princeton, governor of New Jersey, and president of the United States—become so rigid in ...

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